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Christmas Epistle

Christmas Epistle

One of the paradoxes of Christianity is that the Son of God lived only once on the earth, and that he is at the same time “the Son born in eternity.”  The reality of His one-time embodiment is expressed in classical Christianity with the words Et incarnatus est.  The Word became flesh.

The reality of His timeless embodiment is expressed in the epistle of the Christmas season with the words: “Christ has chosen the earthly body.”  More is meant with this than a mortal, material body.  Since His death and resurrection, the whole earth is His body.  In a certain sense, He moved his dwelling place from heaven to the earth.  Our dying earth existence is permeated with His presence—no matter how sick, damaged, and exhausted this earth may be—in order to transform the quintessence of this existence into a new earth and a new heaven in the future.

Undoubtedly, this is for Him, even though He rose from the dead, a lasting path of suffering.  It means an uninterrupted battle with the opposing powers, “in all future cycles of time,” as the epistle expresses it.  For us humans, death is sooner or later a liberation.  As long as we are more or less healthy, and are living without too many worries, we don’t want to think of dying.  But when we grow old and weak, when we cannot expect anything from life anymore, death is our liberator—the crown on our earthly existence.

And for Christ?  His death is but the beginning of a new, unknown path of suffering, a way He has chosen Himself.  The epistle expresses this with the unusual words: “Christ has chosen the earthly body.”  Just as He once came as a human being of flesh and blood—not for the righteous, but for the sinners, the ill, the possessed—so he chooses the dying earth existence “to release man from the deceiving false light, to release man from the senses’ unworthy craving,” always, to the end of the world.

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, 1-3-2021

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